PHILADELPHIA – The University of the Sciences took regionally ranked Dominican, the No. 8 team in the East Region, down to the wire, but a potential game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer hit the front rim in a 58-56 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) loss on Saturday afternoon at Bobby Morgan Arena.
USciences, the No. 10 team in the region, led 54-50 with 4:08 remaining after a Flo Da-Silva layup capped six unanswered with a free throw.
From there Dominican (12-4, 6-1 CACC) closed the game on an 8-2 run over the final 2:30, beginning with back-to-back 3-pointers to take a 56-54 lead with 1:40 to go.
The Chargers then went ahead 58-54 with two free throws 56 seconds later for their largest lead of the afternoon.
Will Gregorits made a jumper with 24 seconds showing to make it a one possession game and following a timeout, Da-Silva came up with one of his four steals to give the Devils a chance to tie it or take the lead.
University of the Sciences (9-7, 5-3) worked the ball around, eventually getting Paddy Casey a look for the win at the top of the arc that hit the front of the rim.
In addition to his four steals, Da-Silva may have had the performance of his career with a career-high 15 rebounds to go along with 23 points, which was one point shy of his career-best, for his second straight double-double and sixth of the season.
He nearly had a double-double in the first half with 17 points and nine boards, as he made 10-of-18 field goals for the game.
Gregorits joined him with his eighth double-double of the season, as he recorded his fourth 20-10 game with 20 points and 10 rebounds. He also tied his career-high with two blocks.
The senior now has six double-double in his last nine games, with seven double-digit rebounding performances in that span.
The two helped University of the Sciences outrebound Dominican 47-31, leading to a dominating 21-7 edge in second chance points.
The Chargers did force 17 Devils turnovers though while committing only 11, leading to an 18-8 advantage in second chance points.
Dominican also had a major edge in 3-point shooting, making 7-of-17 (41.2 percent), compared to USciences making 2-of-10.
Brendan Crawford was the next leading scorer for University of the Sciences with six points, to go along with six boards.
Casey had five points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block.
The game was played within a single possession until the Devils went ahead 11-7 with 10:16 left in the first half after five consecutive Da-Silva points.
USciences would go on to lead for the final 10:34 of the first half, going ahead by as many as six, 26-20, when Casey hit a 3-pionter at the 3:21 mark. Da-Silva gave the Devils a five-point advantage, 30-25, going into the locker room with a layup 19 seconds ahead of the break.
That was part of a 13-5 run over the final 1:49 of the first half and first 3:45 of the second half as Gregorits put University of the Sciences on top 39-30 with 16:15 to play.
Dominican slowly chipped away beginning with six straight points, sparking a 15-6 surge that tied the score for the first time in the second half, 45-45, with 11:28 remaining. The Chargers took their first lead, 49-48, 2:19 later and led until the six straight USciences points.
University of the Sciences opens play in the spring semester when it hosts Holy Family on Tuesday, Jan. 16 at 8 p.m.